Back to the blogs

What is further education and what options are available?

Further education options
Year 11 can be stressful enough without having to think about the options of your further education. Well, look no further! evulpo has got you covered with this article explaining some of the post-16 options available in England.


Advanced Level qualifications, A-levels, are one of the most common routes of further education taken by students in England between the ages of 16 and 18. During Years 12 and 13, students will typically study three or four subjects (although different schools may offer different options). There is a huge range of subjects to choose from, including maths, sciences, humanities, languages and the arts.

A-levels are typically assessed through examinations at the end of the two years. However, some courses, including art-based subjects and the sciences, still have a coursework element to them.

Students can also choose to combine A-levels with BTECs. Before doing this, consider what you want to do after further education. If you want to attend a university, they may have specific qualifications you must take in order to get a place on your preferred course. Take a look at evulpo’s article on how to get into university.


Technical levels, T-levels, are a relatively new alternative to A-levels, apprenticeships and BTECs that were introduced in England in September 2020. They are designed to provide a more technical education more tailored to future employment or higher education.

T-levels, like A-levels, last two years and they are for students aged 16-19 years old. They are the equivalent of three A-levels and unlike traditional A-levels, which are 100% classroom-based, T-levels offer a unique split of 80% classroom-based learning and 20% placement. Industry placements typically last at least 45 days and provide students with valuable skills and experience to support their chosen career. You can learn more about T-Levels here.


Business and Technology Education Council (BTECs) are another option for students in further education. BTECs are vocational courses that provide students with a more ‘hand-on’ practical approach to learning. These are often tailored to a specific career path or field of employment. There are many options to choose from including health and social care, business, travel and tourism, and art.

BTECs may be well suited to students that find exams stressful or those that don’t perform well in exams as they are mostly assessed through coursework and projects. Some students worry that they will not get into university if they take BTECS, however, this is not true! Check out this article to find out why.

An advantage of BTECs is that they can be studied at various levels. The typical further education BTEC you would be taking is a Level 3 qualification. However, there are also Levels 1 and 2 (GCSE equivalent) and Levels 4 and 5 (equivalent to the 1st and 2nd year of an undergraduate degree).

International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an international study programme for further education. As its name suggests, the IB programme is offered in over 150 countries and is recognised by universities in more than 90 countries. Independent and grammar schools are more likely to offer the IB programme instead of the typical A-level/BTEC programme that most state schools and colleges offer.

The IB curriculum is made up of three core elements and six subject groups. The six subject groups include maths, sciences, language, arts and more.
The three core elements:
  1. Theory of knowledge
  2. The extended essay
  3. Creativity, activity, service

You can find out more about the IB curriculum here. The IB curriculum is highly regarded as it is rigorous in its ability to provide students with deeper critical thinking, research, and communication skills.


Finally, apprenticeships are another option for post-16 study. Like BTECS, they can be studied at various levels. The information provided here relates to the Advanced Apprenticeship which is completed post-GCSEs and lasts two years.

Apprenticeships are paid opportunities designed to prepare individuals for the world of work. They offer 80% on-the-job training as well as 20% classroom-based training. Apprenticeship programmes are offered by employers or organisations and they allow individuals to work alongside professionals in their chosen field. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will earn a nationally recognised qualification. You can find out more about apprenticeships here.
Back to the blogs

Support for school subjects with

Learn now for free


England Spain Italy Portugal France Switzerland (French) Switzerland (German) Germany

Your data protection

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you’ve provided them or that they’ve collected from your use of their services. By clicking on either "Accept cookies" or "Necessary cookies only", you agree to this (read more in our Privacy Policy). Privacy Policy